Yesterday, I said that how we interact with our husbands should be the same as how we interact with other Christians or unbelievers. I also explained flaws in the extreme submission ideology, how it goes beyond what is actually scriptural.
So, what happens if my Christian husband is not fulfilling his biblical responsibilities toward me?
What if he’s not being loving?
Not showing difference?
Not being unconditionally loving? (Real, godly love is unconditional.)
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way,
showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel,
since they are heirs with you of the grace of life,
so that your prayers may not be hindered.
1 Peter 3:7
It is important to note here that scripture would not have commanded husbands to be loving, respectful, and not harsh unless husbands were not inclined to this behavior naturally –just as we wives are inclined to not follow our husbands and not be respectful.
It is also important to mention that the above passages command a husband to treat his wife with respect.
Scripture has a lot to say about how we are to interact with people –all people whether saved or not.
If your husband claims to be a believer, there are guidelines about how to interact with other believers about sin in their lives.
I wrote a 3-part series about this complete with a flowchart about interacting with believers when sin is involved.
You’d better make doubly sure that the issues you take issue with are actually, solidly biblical and not just your individual preference.
Can you back your opinion up with a clear chapter and verse in the Bible?
Choose your battles carefully.
If it’s a preference, don’t address it like a sin.
It’s still okay to bring up a preference. If you’d prefer that he handle a situation a certain way you can graciously ask him to consider doing it differently. If he says no about a preference, you have no recourse. This is an area in which you must submit and allow him to make the final decision.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
For the husband is the head of the wife
even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.
Now as the church submits to Christ,
so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
You must never submit to sin.
On an issue where you believe that it is a sin and he does not, pray for wisdom. God promises to give it.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God,
who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
More than once I have thought that something was sin which was not. God showed me through scripture that I was extrapolating and adding to scripture.
I wonder how often our beliefs are tainted by our preferences. I know mine tend to be. It is something I have to be aware of and fight against.
…knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture
comes from someone’s own interpretation.
2 Peter 1:20
A wise husband will choose to at least consider the advice of those closest to him. A man’s closest, God-given advisor is his wife. Although he’s not required to listen to her, in an effort to live at peace with her, he’d be wise to consider her opinion.
Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.
Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
Nowhere in scripture is a husband given the right to completely disregard the interests and needs of his wife. In fact, that would be unloving. A husband is commanded to love.
A preference or even a foolish choice by your husband is still not necessarily a sin. Since a preference is handled much differently than an actual sin, then if and only if your husband is a believer and actually in sin, violating one of the commands clearly written in scripture, would you follow the pattern for biblical correction.
First, you would go to him with chapter and verse from the bible explaining his wrongdoing.
If he would not listen, you return to him with another believer. In my case, I would probably ask for help from one of my husband’s brothers or his father. (Thankfully, I’ve not actually had to do this.)
If he still wouldn’t listen, go to your pastor and get your church involved.
This is where things get complicated. Many churches do not participate in biblical discipline.
Either they don’t want to make waves in their church by holding believers to standards or they believe that church discipline doesn’t apply to a marriage situation.
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression,
you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.
Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.
My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering
will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone.
If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen,
take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established
by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church.
And if he refuses to listen even to the church,
let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector [an unbeliever].
If you find yourself in the position of no church leadership willing to help, you may need to seek the help of family or friends who are believers.
Keep looking until you find someone who is willing to stand for the truth.
Don’t give up.
Tomorrow we will address abuse in marriage and dealing with backslidden and unbelieving husbands.